against all odds

Fishing for ideas

How testing Design Thinking
on a real business actually saved it

After immersively studying Design Thinking for a year (2010-2011), we had a bit of
an existential crisis: does it actually work? We took 3 sabbathical months to figure it out. Results? Only 6 months after our intervention, the business picked up, having recover 2/3 of its loss.

Actions and Tools

– Team building
– In-depth interviews with team and board of directors
– Contextual observation
– Contextual experience


– Ethnographic Research
– Desk Research
– Frameworks: Personas, Journey Maps
– SWOT analysis and business opportunities definition


– Competition analysis
– Role play service design
– Ideation and Prototyping


We took on a personal project – a small wholesale company with more than 20 years of experience in the fishing industry. Once successful, it didn’t know how to adapt to new times and was heading for a fall.

Watching the tide roll in
Context analysis & Problem definition

One of the things we realized was that the people in the company were not addressing the real issue. That happens a lot when people lose objectivity, and that’s why it is so important in those situations to reach out for help from someone with a more detached approached. This doesn’t mean we don’t care about the business. It just means we aren’t personally involved to the point it clouds our judgement. We analyzed the business context in which the company works, and made a business diagnostic to get to the real problem.

Walking in fisherman boots
Journey mapping and frameworking

We went through the whole business experience, mapping all the steps taken form the different stakeholders, from the fishery to the plate. We created frameworks to organize all the data and to extract insights.

Plenty of fish in the sea
Prototyping & Service Design

We prototyped everything: from crazy ideas to new interaction roles inside the company, we experimented, iterated and validated until we reached the ideal solution. We tested a new service. We proposed new processes and working tools, easy to adopt. The results were amazing: new income generated from week 2; new channels identified; process optimization and steady business growth for 4 years and counting.

For more, check the documentation blog:

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